Oct 5, 2013

The Conflicted, Confused Gay Teen of 90210

Gay teens on tv are always "conflicted" and "confused."  They can never make the logical conclusion: "I like guys...I'm gay."  Heterosexuals want them to struggle, moan, complain, try their best not to be gay, as if they're coming to grips with some horrible disability.

It's been that way ever since Jodie Dallas on Soap switched between gay, bi, and transgendr as he slept with every woman he could find (including lesbians) but no men.  Since Steven Carrington on Dynasty had multiple romances with women while saying "I've got a pretty face.  I must be gay!"

One of the latest renditions is Teddy Montgomery, a "confused" and "conflicted"  high school tennis star on the Beverly Hills 90210 revamp 90210 (2009-2012), played by Trevor Donovan (seen here with a woman's hands groping him).

In Seasons 1 and 2, Teddy is a "regular guy," aka heterosexual, in fact a "player" who is juggling several girlfriends at one time.

In Season 3, he's still gawking over girls, grabbing at girls, and falling for girls, but one night he gets drunk and hooks up with Ian (Kyle Riabko).

Ian thinks he's "on the downlow" and promises not to tell anyone, but Teddy insists "I'm straight!" and tries to beat him up.  Later Teddy admits that he's been feeling "confused" for years.

What's to be confused about?  He obviously likes guys, and he has had endless sexual exploits with girls.  It's pretty clear that he's bisexual.

Nope, he's gay.  His heterosexual years were just "lying to himself."

But...he didn't just pretend to like girls.  He had sex with them-- a lot.

That was a lie, too.

He kisses Ian.  Someone snaps their picture, and tries to blackmail him!  Yes, people are still blackmailed, lest their horrible secret is revealed.

At least in Beverly Hills, which is awash in pre-Stonewall homophobia.

No gay community.  Nothing but bars.   Reminds me of the Manhattan of Will and Grace.

In Season 4, Teddy comes out to his father, who has a pre-Stonewall explosive homophobic reaction.

And being gay threatens the campaign of his Uncle, who is running for Congress.

Um...having a gay nephew will cost you the election?  In California?  In 2010?

In Season 5, Teddy's ex-girlfriend Silver wants to have a baby, and asks him to be a donor.  He agrees, and they realize that there's still a spark between them.

So is he bisexual now?

Nope, still gay.  He just gets "sparks" for girls now and then.  Doesn't everybody?

Oct 4, 2013

Spring 1968: Corrupting a Mean Boy

Growing up strictly fundamentalist prepared me for a lifetime of civil disobedience.  We had to be on guard constantly.  Teachers, other kids, police officers, store clerks, anybody who belonged to the World would try anything, from seduction to threats, to get us to deny God.

In second grade at Hasche Elementary School in Racine, Wisconsin, my teacher, Miss Donovan, was adept at promoting evil.  She was tall and thin, with black hair and bright red lips and a perpetual scowl.   Evil.

1. She told us that proper nouns, specific People, Places, and Things, had to be capitalized.  So on the spelling test, I capitalized "Heaven," and got it marked wrong.

"Heaven is a specific place!"  I yelled.  "You can't make me say it's not!"'

Hansche School was torn down a few years ago
2. We had to do dreaded square dancing.  Nazarenes were not permitted to dance, ever.  I told my parents, who had the preacher call and set her straight, but not before I had to sit in the corner for a full class session.

3. She made us learn the expression "Nobody's perfect."  But Nazarenes were perfect!  The foundation of our theology was Christian perfection, the inability to ever commit any sins.  "You can't make me say it,"  I protested.  "It's a lie!"

Another day sitting in the corner!

I couldn't take much more of Miss Donovan's mind-control torture.

I decided on a pre-emptive strike.

There was a Mean Boy in my class named "Mean Dave" to distinguish him from Nice Dave.  He had muscles and sandy hair and a brash smile.  I didn't associate with Mean Boys much, but Mean Dave was always getting in trouble with Miss Donovan, too, and in wartime, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And did I mention the muscles?

We borrowed some gag gifts from Mean Dave's older brother, and while Miss. Donovan was out patrolling the kids at recess, we sneaked into the classroom and put fake vomit under her desk, a whoopie cushion on her chair, and pop-up snakes in her chalk drawer. To be on the safe side, we also wrote "Donovan eats worms!" on the blackboard.

At the end of recess, she marched into the classroom, shrieked "Who wrote this!", and forced us all to put our heads on our desks until someone confessed.  But we could hear her opening the chalk drawer -- shrieking as the snakes popped out -- then a farting sound as she sat in her chair -- then a shriek as she thought she stepped in vomit.

Mean Dave and I were discovered almost immediately. We had to stay after school, AND apologize to Miss Donovan. AND Mean Dave was not allowed to play with me anymore.  His parents said I was a bad influence.

Imagine -- a "perfect" Nazarene was a bad influence on a Mean Boy!

Summer 1978: I Figure It Out at the Movies

During the summer of 1978, I figured "it" out.  At the movies.

I didn’t go to movies much when I was a kid. Our church forbade them, and besides, I didn’t get an allowance until junior high.  In 1968, I saw only 3 movies in a theater: Blackbeard’s Ghost, Yours, Mine, and Ours, and Oliver!

But during the summer of 1978, shortly after my senior prom, I was a high school graduate.  I had a job at the Carousel Snack Bar and my own car: money and freedom. And I went to all the movies I could.

During the 10 weeks of summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I saw 21 movies, alone, with my brother, with Aaron and Darry and a boy I liked: Old Marx Brothers comedies at the Film Club, dollar movies at the Augustana Student UnionThe Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Nuart, and lots of blockbusters at the Showcase Cinemas (Animal House, The Cheap Detective, The End, The Eyes of Laura Mars,  Grease, The Greek Tycoon, Seniors....). 

You probably think that Rocky Horror did it.  No, it was Grease.

It's a heterosexist boy-meets-girl fable, drawing on the 1950s craze, and therefore kin to Lords of Flatbush,  Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley): during their senior year at Rydell High in the 1950s (actually 1962), "nice girl" Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) falls for greaser Danny (John Travolta), but he is only interested in girls who "put out." So her friends, the Pink Ladies, give her a tramp-makeover, and Danny is lured in.

But more: it's about masks, surface conformity hiding our true selves. Danny is sweet, sensitive, and caring, but his culture requires a pretense of machismo. When he falls for Sandy, he is forbidden from acknowledging that he is in love; it's supposed to be all about sex.  Sandy, meanwhile, learns to hide her true self under a sleazy, leather-clad, cigarette-smoking facade.

At the time, both were heavily rumored to be gay.  Conforming, wearing a mask.

But girls can only lure, hint at sexual availability.  There are dire consequences for actually giving in, as Rizzo (Stockard Channing) learns (pictured with her boyfriend Kenickie).

What do the teenagers want, when they are their true selves?  Not sex.  Not romance. They want belonging, an emotional connection.  As the movie ends, the eight friends wonder what will become of them after graduation.  Will they go their separate ways?  "No," Danny exclaims.  "That'll never happen. We'll always be together."

"Grease," performed by Frankie Valli, was constantly on the radio that summer.

This is a world of illusion, out of control, makes us confused: nothing is real, you have to wear the mask, say things you don't mean, pretend things you don't feel.

 The adults are lying -- only real is real.  It's all one big lie.

Over and over, day after day, year after year, they try to make you believe that what you feel doesn't exist, what you want doesn't exist, that no same-sex love has ever happened in all the history of the world.

It's all one big lie. Only real is real.

We stop the fight right now, we got to be what we feel.

That did it.

I may be the only person in history to start sobbing uncontrollably during Grease.

See also: A Boy Named Angel

Kurt Vonnegut: Homophobia on Trafalmador

When I was in college in the 1980s, all of the hip, cool guys read Kurt Vonnegut.  All of them.  He was even printed in Playboy

Oh, he's great!  They would exclaim.  There's this science fiction writer, see, but it turns out that the things he's writing are real....and, and, the crazy Trafalamadorians are behind Stonehenge....and, and Vonnegut and his sister turn into ducks...and, and Billy Pilgrim gets unstuck in time...and, and.

Sounded sort of like Monte Python and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Besides, The Sirens of Titan had a hot guy on the cover.  So I checked some of Vonnegut's books out of the library.

The homophobia was equal to or surpasses that of anything on the syllabus of my Modern American Literature class.

In The Sirens of Titan (1959), Salo, a robot, is in love with a man.  "There was nothing offensive in this love.  That is, it wasn't homosexual."  Well, that's a relief!  Can't have any of that offensive "homosexual" love!

In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), we read the personals column of a newspaper.  Some of the ads are nice, and others are sick: "St. Louis hairdresser, male, would like to hear from other males in the Show-me State."  Am I supposed to find this disgusting?

In Breakfast of Champions (1973): Dwayne's son had "grown up to be a notorious homosexual" named Bunny.  It was filmed in 1999, with Bruce Willis as Dwayne and Lucas Haas (left) as Bunny.

The short story "Harrison Bergeron" (1961), an impassioned plea against equal rights, posits a future dystopia where everyone is equal -- literally.  Attractive people have to wear masks, smart people hear loud noises to break their concentration, and graceful dancers are hobbled, all due to the draconian political correctness fomented by lesbian feminazi Diana Moon Glampers.

 It's been filmed three times, with  Avind Harum, Sean Astin (top photo), and Richard Kindler as the heroic heterosexual Harrison.

Lest you think that Vonnegut's homophobia mellowed with age, try his memoir, Man without a Country (2005):

“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts."

Ok, how could being gay possibly hurt your parents?
And who in 2005 thought that you could decide to be gay in order to hurt them?

Oct 3, 2013

Marty Teaches Me How to Go Past First Base

Guy on the right looks like Marty
In the summer after sixth grade, shortly after I was disappointed over the lack of muscles at Little Bit O'Heaven, I spent a week at Manville Nazarene Camp (ironic name unintended) as a "grown up."

Kids who had just finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades went to separate boys' and girls' camps, but then you went to co-ed junior high camps (6th-8th grade) and high school camps (9th-11th grade).

Boys and girls were camping together for the first time, and the staff was determined to make us know it .

Last year our counselors were the Sanderson Brothers, but this year it was a ministerial student named Brother Dexter: tall, wide-eyed, and thickly-built,  and obsessed with pushing boys and girls together. When I sat anywhere in the vicinity of a girl, he grinned and punched my shoulder in congratulations. But once when I sat next to a cute boy,  he said “Cheer up! You’ll find someone!”, as if being with a boy was exactly the same as being alone.

Ministerial student
During the daily boys-only "rap sessions," Brother Dexter sat on a chair backward and made painful attempts to use "with-it" slang as he advised us on our upcoming rush of hetero-horniness: only date Christian girls, don't go to dances or movies, don't ready dirty magazines like Playboyand no matter how you are tempted, keep yourself "pure."  "Don't go past First Base until your wedding night!"

First Base?  What was he talking about?

That night after altar call, when the kids were waiting in line at the snack bar or taking walks in the darkness, I asked a boy named Marty, a tall, skinny 9th grader with strawlike hair and a pie-pan face.  He wasn't cute, but he was three years older than me and knew everything.

Marty took me into the woods behind the tabernacle, where boys sometimes gathered to sneak cigarettes and kiss girls, and explained that sex came in stages, like running bases in baseball.

“Ok, so stealing first base is hugging, and scoring first base is kissing her on the mouth.  That's as far as Johnny Nazarenes ever go.  So stealing second base is necking."

“Biting the girl on the neck, like a vampire?” I interrupted, remembering Greg’s mouth on my neck.  I could still feel the pinpricks of his fangs. Had Greg stolen second base?

Chuckling at my ignorance, Marty put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed hard. And left his hand there! “No, Gomer, it means kissing and hugging at the same time. Ok, so scoring second base is petting over. Do you know what that is?”

Manville Camp. Tabernacle on far left
He hadn't moved his hand!  I felt flushed with excitement. Maybe he wanted to score bases with me!  Not like Bill, who moved away every time I tried to kiss him.

"Sure," I said.  "I pet dogs and cats all the time.”

“No, petting over means feeling the girl's chest over her bra.”

"Oh, like this, you mean."  I reached out and lightly ran my open palm over his shirt.  Suddenly the night seemed very hot.

 "Um...yeah, that's right.  So stealing third is petting under. You feel under her bra.”

"Like this?"  I unbuttoned three buttons of his shirt and slid my hand inside.  His chest wasn't hard steel, but it was warm and solid. I wanted his arms around me.

Marty moaned.  His eyes half closed, he reached out and ran his hand over my chest.  "So. . .um. . scoring third is where she touches you down there. . .below the belt, but with your pants on.  And stealing home, when your pants come off."

 "Can a boy steal home?"  I asked.

"Um...like, if you're keeping yourself pure until your wedding night, guys are ok."

Now it was time for the kiss!  I leaned up so our faces were close together, expecting him to draw me close, but instead he tried to push me down to my knees.

I resisted.  This was no time to be praying!

He released me.  We stood facing each other awkwardly in the dark.

What had just happened?  Did I do something wrong?  Of course -- I skipped some bases.  It was hugging, kissing, necking, petting, touching!  I reached out and tried to start over with a hug, but Marty pushed me away.

"Kay, so, we better get back to our cabins.  See ya.” He turned and practically bolted away, leaving me blinking in surprise.

Forty years later, I'm still not sure what I expected to happen that night.  Or what Marty expected to happen to "keep himself pure" before marriage.

See also: Learning the Facts of Life

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka Loves Zuko

If you have a free hour or two, check deviantart.com or fanfiction.net for  "Aang Sokka" or "Sokka Zuko."  You'll get millions of fan fiction romances, homoromantic or homoerotic pictures, and endless arguments over which anime boy is in love with which.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Nickelodeon animated tv series (2005-2008) that followed the conventions of anime.  Set in a medieval, vaguely Japanese fantasy world, it featured teenage martial artists with mystical powers struggling against the evil Fire Lord and his minions.

The main characters were:

1. Aang (Noah Ringer in the 2010 movie),  the last Airbender, a martial artist with mystical powers.
2. Katara (Nicola Peltz), a female Waterbender.
2. Sokka (Jackson Rathbone, top photo), the older brother of Katara, who doesn't have any bending powers.
4. Zuko (Dev Patel, left), a Firebender, the exiled prince of the Fire Kingdom who eventually becomes their ally.

The gay subtexts are blatant, obvious, and, according to most fans, deliberate, a reflection of the same-sex romances commonplace in "real" Japanese anime.  Sokka and Zuko are really into each other (sorry, I meant Sokka and Aang, or Aang and Zuko, or Sokka and one of the minor characters, or Zuko and.....)

It was an enormous success, spawning video games, comic books, action figures, toys, books, a feature film, and a large fan base that writes stories, draws pictures, and dresses up for cosplay. In 2012, Nickelodeon premiered a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, featuring Aang's son.

Oct 2, 2013

Bill and I Survive the Rapture

Boomer and Bill
When I was a kid in the 1960s, our Preacher, Brother Tyler, was a solidly-built, husky bulldog, not unpleasant to look at.  But he turned into a monster during his three weekly sermons, shouting and screaming until he was hoarse and his brown business suit was damp with sweat, pounding the pulpit so hard that people thought it would break, screaming about how bad the World was and how inadequate Nazarenes were.  But mostly he screamed about the End of the World.

Just look around: evil was more rampant today than ever before in history, with all the dancing and Catholics, and schools teaching evolution, and the Supreme Court banning belief in God. How long could God put up with it? Soon He would beam everyone who was Saved up to Heaven in an event called the Rapture, and send everyone else to the Lake of Fahr.

My boyfriend Bill wasn't a Christian, he was a Presbyterian. Would he be left behind?

Not Brother Tyler

 At the end of every service, Brother Tyler lay in wait at the big red doors, grabbing people and forcing them to shake his hand and lie about how much they enjoyed his screaming. Teens and kids usually sneaked down the Sunday school corridor to the Fellowship Hall and out the back door, but today I stood in line with the adults, allowed Brother Tyler to vise-grip my hand, and said “What if you're a Presbyterian?  Will God take you up?"

Brothr Tyler frowned in surprise at hearing something other than “I loved your screaming!” “No, Presbyterians are liberals -- false Christians.  They don't believe in getting Saved."
“But what if I really like him? Won’t God let him go anyway?”

People were starting to push past us, trying to escape into the parking lot without a handshake. Brother Tyler eyed them hungrily. “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers,” he quoted, reaching around me to grab Dad’s hand. “Tell your little Presbyterian girlfriend she’s got to get raht with God!”
“Bill isn’t a girl, he’s a boy!”

Brother Tyler stared, not certain how to respond.  "Um...a boy, you say?"
“Boomer's being silly,” Dad said, pushing me out the door. “Pretending he’s a hippie who can’t tell the boys from the girls.  Let's go, Skeezix!" (He always called me Skeezix when I exhibited same-sex desire)

Every Sunday, Brother Tyler screamed about some new sign that the Rapture would come any moment now, maybe before this service ended. During the summer of 1969, just after third grade at Denkmann, he mostly screamed about the World’s attempt to slap the face of God by sending astro-nuts to the moon!  They were even planning it for a Sunday, working on the Sabbath, a final dig against God’s Word!

As the moon flight drew near, Brother Tyler screamed that God would never allow Satan to triumph. Maybe the atheist-ship would suffer mechanical problems and fail. Maybe the astro-nuts would get saved and abandon the mission. Or, most likely, the Rapture would come before they  plunged down onto the moon’s pristine surface.

Mom and Dad skipped the evening service on the Sunday of the moon landing – they didn’t want to spend their last night on Earth listening to a preacher scream.  Bill came to my house shortly after dinner, a worried smile on his face even though he didn't believe in the Rapture.  We walked out into the back yard and looked up at the dusky sky, but we couldn't see anybody streaming up toward Heaven yet.

Later we watched the telecast in breathless anticipation, squeezed together on the couch even though it was hot and we had no air conditioning. I held onto Bill tightly, so if I was dragged up, he would go too.

But the spaceship landed, the head astronut bragged about “a giant step for mankind,” and the Rapture did not come.

The next Sunday, the morning sermon was about tithing,  and the evening sermon was about evolution, with no mention of the moon landing  Brother Tyler never preached on the Rapture again.

Oct 1, 2013

Spring 1978: Getting Down with a Dude

My brother Ken wasn't the only one who seemed to "know" in the winter and spring of 1978, my senior year at Rocky High, as I studied for AP exams and filled out college applications.  It seemed that I spent the whole semester protesting "No way am I a Swish!"

1. Darry (below), who explored the ghost of Davenport House with me, gave me a portable chess set for Christmas, with the card saying: "You'll need this for your honeymoon with Xaviera Hollander."

Xaviera Hollander was a New York City madame who told about her exclusive brothel in an autobiography, The Happy Hooker.  She was widely recognized as the most beautiful woman in the world.  Why would I need a chess set for my honeymoon with her?  Obviously because we wouldn't be having sex!

2. My Career Planning teacher assigned the Strong Interest Inventory, which matched you to jobs based on a series of Zen paradoxes: would you prefer to draw maps or feed zebras,  solve people’s problems or drive race cars, chop wood or program computers? When the results came, I was a good match for journalist, chemist, historian, and astronomer.

And female lawyer.  But not male lawyer.

Hot with rage, I stormed up to the teacher.  “This test thinks I’m a Swish!” I yelled.

With the offending score under his nose, he stumbled around for a few moments and finally came up with an excuse:  "Male and female lawyers draw on different sets of skills. The men are more aggressive,  and the ladies are more nurturing."  He looked up at me with watery wounded eyes.  "It doesn't mean that you have homo...homosexual tendencies or anything."

3. After the Sunday evenings service, the teens gathered for "Afterglow," a sort of party with games, Gospel music, and snacks.  Since it counted as a date, the ten or fifteen minutes between altar call and Afterglow was filled with preening, evaluating, and drama.

Church royalty usually had many invitations to choose from, especially Debbie, who was spoiled, snooty, and arrogant.  So I was surprised when she approached me with three of her cronies in tow, pressed her flat palm hard against my chest, and commanded, “You’re taking me to Afterglow.” When I refused, she stared open-mouthed for a moment, as if she had never heard such nonsense, and then said "Figures.  I knew he was a Swish."  Her cronies giggled with delight.

4. For a skit in Spanish class, my female partner and I pretended to be parked at a lover’s lane. I took her in my arms, and an accomplice cut the lights, giving us time to muss our hair and clothes as if we had been necking. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but the class roared.

Later my friend Tom, who would invite me to visit him in Los Angeles two years later, explained: “It was just the idea of you with a girl!” I thought he meant a Nazarene, forbidden anything past first base, but now I realized that he thought I didn't like girls, so the sight of me pretending to kiss one was hilarious.

5. Craig, who went streaking with me in junior high, invited me to his graduation party.  "There'll be mattresses in the basement," he said, "In case you want to get down with. . .um. . .anybody."

Surely he meant "with a girl." He would be shocked and outraged if I used the mattress to get down with a dude.

Wouldn't he?

No way was I a Swish!

David Manners: Dracula's Boyfriend

Dracula (1931) begins with a scene in which the Count (Bela Lugosi) shows  real estate broker Renfield (Dwight Frye) to a bedroom in his castle, leers at him, fondles his chest, and then looks suggestively at the bed.  It's a surprisingly homoerotic scene in a movie otherwise given over to heterosexual exploits (Dracula doesn't even follow through on his sexual assault; he sends a clutch of female vampires to finish the job).

There was at least one gay actor in the movie, David Manners, but he played a role without gay subtexts, Harker, the love interest to Dracula's main victim Mina.

Born in 1901, the wealthy, aristocratic David Manners began his career as a swimsuit model.  He starred in 39 movies from 1929 to 1936, including tearjerkers, romantic comedies, and horror, but only two, that I know of, had strong gay subtexts:

1. The war movie Journey's End (1930), directed by famous gay director James Whale. Two soldiers in World War I, Raleigh (David Manners) and Osborne (Ian Maclaren) (above) are sent on a dangerous mission behind German lines.   They fall in love during the arduous journey. Raleigh is killed, and Osborne is overcome with grief.

2. The Truth About Youth (1931): Richard Carewe (Conway Teale) and his young ward, The Imp (David Manners) are both in love with the same woman.

Manners left Hollywood in 1936 for the stage.  During his long career, he was also a cowboy, a movie producer, and a painter.  After his partner of thirty years, Bill Mercer, died in 1978, he embarked upon a second (or third or fourth?) career as a novelist.

 He died in 1998.

Sep 30, 2013

Spring 1981: Only Serious Heterosexuals Need Apply

Dorm Shower
University of Toronto professor David Gilmour, an "acclaimed author," is under fire for an interview he gave with Hazlitt Magazine, in which he explains why he doesn't have any women or gay men (or Chinese) authors on his syllabus: "I only teach the people that I truly, truly love.  Unfortunately, none of them happen to be women, or Chinese.  I only teach serious heterosexual guys -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Philip Roth, Henry Miller."

Apparently gay authors can produce witty, humorous works, but not serious literature.

The fact that this homophobic, racist, sexist jerk still has a job doesn't surprise me -- I'm in academe, where homophobia, racism, and sexism is rampant.

East Hall
I remember a spring afternoon in 1981, my junior year at Augustana, sitting in my Modern American Literature class in East Hall.  Dr. Dahlquist (not his real name), a grim, rotund hobbit, was lecturing on The Sun Also Rises, but I heard only a low drone; I was gazing out the southern window, at the Fratboys tossing Frisbees on the quad, or reclining under trees with paperbacks. I couldn’t read their titles, but I was certain that they were all about boys falling in love with girls.

Suddenly,to break the silence, or just to stir things up a bit, I raised my hand and asked if Ernest Hemingway may have been Gay.  (I think I said "Homosexual Tendencies."

Dr. Dahlquist stared, utterly taken aback. Someone behind me stifled a snicker. Otherwise the room became absolutely silent.   I was certain that the Deplorable Word had never been spoken in any classroom at Augustana College, or at any classroom at any college anywhere in the world.

After glancing at the other students, then back to me again, Dr. Dahlquist decided that I was not wisecracking or being initiated into a frat, but asking a legitimate question, however scandalous. He forgot all about Hemingway and began an impromptu lecture:

Christopher Marlowe
That currently fashionable vice destroys the intellect, Dr. Dalhquist said, reducing its victims to flitty, waspish creatures fit only for manicuring and gossip.

In spite of the ambiguities of his verse, we know that Walt Whitman scattered illegitimate children along the Eastern seaboard.

Shakespeare’s infamous sonnets written to  “Mr. W. H.” reflects a mere convention of the day, and Christopher Marlowe’s reputed love of  “tobacco and boys” was a defamation by his enemies.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was a priest, therefore celibate, and as for Oscar Wilde, history tells them that he was merely “posing” as a sodomite: he had a wife and two children:

“The idea that a homo might have the wits to be a writer, especially a great writer, is absurd.”

Strangely enough, Dr. Dahlquist also taught my Creative Writing class, and constantly praised my stories. 

Thirty years have passed, but not much has changed.  Only "serious heterosexuals" need apply.

Spring 1978: Aaron Takes Me to Leonard Bernstein's Mass

When I was a kid, my church had no problem with classical music, but my parents hated "that longhair stuff," so there was none in the house.  My first exposure to Bach, Berlioz, Beethoven, and Mozart came through a series of Young People's Concerts (1958-72) which appeared occasionally on Sunday afternoons, hosted by famous composer Leonard Bernstein.

Later, when I joined the school orchestra, I learned more about Leonard Bernstein.

I saw his gay symbolism-heavy musicals, On the Town (1949), starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, and West Side Story (1961), starring gay actor George Chakiris, left, and assorted high-stepping hunks.

And his Symphony #3, Kaddish, named after the Jewish prayer for the dead.

He appeared on tv, conducting Gershwin in 1974, Mahler in 1975, and Beethoven in 1982.

No one ever mentioned that he was gay.  His works revealed nothing, except maybe the Serenade for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp, and Percussion, after Plato's Symposium (1954).  The Symposium contains Plato's famous defense of same-sex love.

The full post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood